Archive for December 5th, 2008

by Sam Juliano

     The 1940’s film poll launches today, and will run for a full month. Submissions will be accepted up until the final day of the polling, January 7th, 2009.
     Issues arose during last month’s 1930’s polling, as to what constitutes a “great” film and what is deemed a “favorite” film. In the spirited discourse that generated an astounding number of comments (about 140) posters locked horns on this issue with varying interpretations.
     One of the the site’s most celebrated staff writers, veteran Tony D’Ambra of Sydney, Australia, an incomparable film noir expert, suggested that we urge voters in the 1940’s poll to identify the films that they think are genuinely the “greatest” of this period. It seems to me, very sound advice. However, I do know that some voters will continue to list films that they consider their favorites, asserting that such choices are in fact what they consider to be the best films. It’s a fine line for sure, but in order to have the best results WitD urges all voters to try and blend the two concepts so that films that are “guilty pleasures” are not named among the Top 25. Hence we strive to get the kind of exclusive results that are achieved by such exclusive and prestigious sites like “Sight and Sound.”
     In any case, as always, animated films, documentaries and short films are all accepted as legitimate choices.
Voters are free to list “runners-ups” after the list of 25, although those picks won’t get any points in the tabulation, which again will be negotiated by crack Voting Tabulator Extraordinaire Angelo A. D’Arminio Jr.
I hope to have my own list up later today. Good Luck, and I hope that once again a spirited evaluation, which may include re-viewings and deft scrutinization will come to pass.
     Allan Fish will be posting the actual voting thread today, with the 40’s icon under the banner head as was the case with the previous poll. That can be accessed by simply clicking the “poll of the 40’s” link.

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The Big Sleep *****


by Allan Fish

another in the series of films that just missed the cut in the 1940s top list, another personal favourite…

(USA 1946 114m) DVD1/2

The Ben-Hur 1860

p  Howard Hawks  d  Howard Hawks  w  Jules Furthman, William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett  novel Raymond Chandler  ph  Sid Hickox  ed  Christian Nyby  m  Max Steiner  art  Carl Jules Weyl  cos  Leah Rhodes

Humphrey Bogart (Philip Marlowe), Lauren Bacall (Vivien Sternwood Rutledge), John Ridgely (Eddie Mars), Louis Jean Heydt (Joe Brody), Martha Vickers (Carmen Sternwood), Charles Waldron (General Guy Sternwood), Regis Toomey (Bernie Ohls), Peggy Knudsen (Mona Mars), Dorothy Malone (Proprietress of Acme bookstore), Bob Steele (Lash Canino), Elisha Cook Jnr (Harry Jones), Charles D.Brown (Norris, the butler), Sonia Darrin (Agnes Lozelle), Tom Rafferty (Carol Lundgren), Theodore Von Eltz (Arthur Gwynn Geiger), Tom Fadden (Sidney), Ben Welden (Pete), Trevor Bardette (Art Huck), Joy Barlowe (cab driver), Dan Wallace (Owen Taylor), James Flavin (Cronjager – only in pre-release version), Thomas Jackson (D.A.Wilde – only in pre-release version),

The subject of who was the greatest Philip Marlowe has always been a contentious one for cineastes, usually coming down between a toss-up between Dick Powell in Farewell, My Lovely in 1944 and Bogart here, in one of his most famous roles.  In truth, the same is also true of which is the better film.  For Dmytryk’s film is undoubtedly closer to the spirit of not only that book, but to Chandler’s vision of Marlowe.  However, though Powell is magnificent, Bogart somehow contrives to make the role his own, too, though in actuality he plays it as if he’s still playing Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon.    He’s more a P.I. for all seasons.  (more…)

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